Homer's Travels: Hiking Ventura County #22: Rocky Peak Trail

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #22: Rocky Peak Trail

This is the last of three hikes in the Rocky Peak area - this one actually going to Rocky Peak. The other two hikes (here and here) prepared me for this one. The trail is an Up-Down There-And-Back with about 1,145 feet of elevation gain. The landscape is impressive sandstone outcroppings, desert scrub, and patches of wildflowers. I started up the trail at 7:45 and made my way up the trail.

There are many geocaches on this trail. I had eight programmed into my GPS. The first was "Rocky Peak Trail Head Cache" just about thirty feet from the start of the trail. It was hid to help people find the trailhead and it worked nicely for me as I was unfamiliar with the area near the trailhead. The trail switchbacks up the hill a little bit where I jumped off the trail to find "Wodden Hand". Bunnies and squirrels scurried as I approached the cache site. I picked up the Dainty Hat Travel Bug from this cache.

The trail levels off for a short distance where I picked up the "On The Edge" cache. The trail turns a corner and drops a bit where you come upon a lone oak tree, the only substantial shade on this trail. Hidden in that shade is the "Made In The Shade" cache. The shade was welcome because at 9:00 in the morning it was already getting hot.

The trail then curves and starts to seriously climb up the hill. At the top I was was huffing and puffing. As I cooled down, I searched for the "Rocky Peak Views" cache. I was getting close to finding it when mountain biker showed up and decided to rest nearby. Not wanting to give away the location of the cache I decided to take in the views and head for another cache, figuring that I would find it on the way back (which I did).

My turn-around point was the "Dos Amigos" cache. The turn around point was somewhere around the 4 mile mark.

I made my way back and found the Rocky Peak Views cache before I head up a spur trail to Rocky Peak. The trail was a little difficult to follow at times because it was on rock which doesn't show the wear, footprints, and bike tracks that regular ground does. There were a few stone cairns and orange ribbons that steered you through the jumble of stone and I made it to the top of the peak. The views from the peak were awesome. The day was clear and only the farthest distances were obscured by the haze. At the very top there is a county line marker. I, of course, had to stand over the marker - my left foot in Los Angeles County and my right in Ventura County. At the top there was also some strange compass rose painted on the rock. Not sure what is was. There are a lot of movies filmed in this park, mostly westerns, and I wonder if this was used for a movie.

After taking in the views and resting a bit, I headed back down. Down was pretty rough on the knees and feet. I had missed a cache on the way up. I had thought it might be on a side trail and I was right. I came across the trail on the way back down. I figured that the trail would eventually reconnect to the main trail so I headed down it. I arrived at the cache site and looked around but could not find it. I was really hot and really tired and I really didn't put much effort into it. I e-mailed the owner and he says it's still there. I guess it was well hidden. I went further down the trail and came to the realization that the trail was not going to meet up with the main trail. The trail I was on was actually going under the freeway to a park on the other side. I groaned and started bushwhacking in the direction of my car. The brush was sparse and low to the ground so bushwhacking wasn't difficult but the path I took when up and down a couple ridges before I met up with the trail. There was no shade and the sun was at its zenith and relentless. I was completely wiped by the time I reached the car.

Except for the ill planned detour at the end, I liked the hike. The scenery is very interesting and the elevation gain is a challenge. Total distance was 8.41 miles. Pictures can be found here.

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